Late last night we heard some fairly surprising news that former Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss (referred to by fans as D&D) were no longer making the next Star Wars trilogy. The news came after much speculation that this was eventually going to happen, though there was no specific evidence to suggest it would, and as such, I found it a bit of a shock when I woke up this morning.
The only Star Wars films currently dated were the three films that Benioff and Weiss were working on, those release dates were as follows. December 16, 2022, December 20, 2024, and December 18, 2026. Other than this we have no word on any current Star Wars movies in the pipeline, other than the fact we have been told at some point Kevin Feige will produce a Star Wars movie.
Now that Benioff and Weiss have left because (as they say) they simply don’t have to the time to work on both Star Wars and their new megabucks Netflix deal, what kind of state does that leave the Star Wars franchise in? I have to say though this discussion is not about Game of Thrones, I am pissed that they rushed to finish that show against the wishes of everyone else and butchered the ending to get into Star Wars, only to now not be making any Star Wars movies. Was it just a case of them wanting to get started on Netflix who are paying them an absolute fortune just to develop shows and films, or were they pushed as part of a behind the scenes massive shakeup at Lucasfilm? We’ll speculate on that further down.
The Future of Star Wars in Theaters
So right now we have three dates and no one actually creatively working on these three movies. The first and most obvious thing I’d hope Lucasfilm and Disney will do, is cancel those release dates, even if it’s just the first one. There is in my opinion now not enough time to bring a new creative team in and still have this film ready to release in December 2022. The reason I say this is not because you cannot develop a movie in two years, they absolutely could. No, instead, this about making sure they have a proper plan for a full story that covers three movies, something I think they mistakenly rushed when it came to the sequel trilogy.
At this point, making a trilogy that the fans love is more important than getting a movie out there quickly, because a lot of the Star Wars fan base has been left less than impressed with the sequel trilogy, especially in the way that it feels to many like a relay race, where each director hands of the baton to who comes next.
So could Lucasfilm turn back to Rian Johnson, who is supposedly developing his own trilogy and give him until December 2024 to have a trilogy mapped out and the first film ready to hit theaters? That seems like a far more likely timescale, doesn’t it? However, I have serious doubts about whether Rian Johnson’s trilogy will ever happen. The question remains for me, after some rumors about this, will Kathleen Kennedy oversee another Star Wars movie as Lucasfilm president after this year’s The Rise of Skywalker?
I’ll talk about that more below, but for right now, the future of Star Wars movies is very much up in the air, we have three release dates and currently, no one making those movies, something has to happen soon.
There were rumors recently (as said above) that Kathleen Kennedy may step down after Indy 5, which by the way, doesn’t yet have a release date. What if this all happens a bit sooner than anyone expected? What if Kennedy steps down after the release of The Rise of Skywalker instead? Could this be one of the reasons that Benioff and Weiss have moved on? Because Disney wants to push Lucasfilm in a different direction? There’s no way Disney would announce this before The Rise of Skywalker hits as they would worry it could affect the box office of the movie as fans think they have no confidence in it.
The last time I wrote about this, I theorized that this was all going to result in Kevin Feige taking over as president of both Marvel and Lucasfilm. However, since then Feige has been promoted to the head of basically all things Marvel, including areas he didn’t used to have a say in, so would that allow him the time to also serve as president of Lucasfilm? Many think not, and my own colleagues feel like this would be a sideways step for Kevin Feige rather than an upward trajectory, but I’m still not convinced about that. The prevailing theory seems to be that Feige would want to keep moving upwards, but surely, eventually, that leads to far less involvement with the actual making of movies, and isn’t that why he got into the business in the first place, to make good movies?
If I was Feige, and I note I am most certainly not, I would jump at the chance to shape Star Wars in the same way that he has shaped Marvel. For a start the actual output is far, far less when it comes to Star Wars, they really only need to focus right now on a new trilogy of movies that isn’t be connected to what has come before. I guess what I’m saying, is that there is far less Star Wars content than Marvel content that and maybe he would be able to manage both roles? I guess maybe I’m wishing for this more than expecting it and that perhaps this is clouding my better judgment on this one?
Saying all that, we do know for a fact that Disney has asked Kevin Feige to produce a Star Wars movie, that’s definitely happening, we just don’t know when. Surely if this trilogy is delayed slightly, it could provide the perfect opportunity for Disney to see what Feige can do within the Galaxy, far, far away. Is he able to replicate the success of the MCU in Star Wars? Star Wars has always been about trilogies, so rather than Feige getting one movie, I always felt like he would instead be producing a trilogy of some kind, and now there is a slot open he could step right into?
RELATED: New Star Wars Comic Shows Why The Sequel Trilogy Is Failing
Who would Feige get creatively if he was making a Star Wars movie or trilogy? Well if you read my previous article about Star Wars, Feige and Kennedy, then you know that I have been saying for some time that the Russo Brothers and their writing partners Markus and McFeeley would be perfect. They are Star Wars fans, they’ve already said they’d love to make a Star Wars movie, but perhaps it is all a little too close to their recent blockbuster efforts right now. The team is currently enjoying a few passion projects afforded by their recent success, would they be willing to jump into Star Wars so soon? Possibly not for a 2022 release date, but again, if that was canceled and the new date was 2024 instead, then I could see it happening.
Star Wars on TV and the Future of the Franchise
We also have to remember that while the future of Star Wars in theaters is up in the air right now, things are moving along nicely when it comes to the TV show side of the Galaxy. The Mandalorian is almost upon us and it has fans excited, we also have an Obi-Wan Kenobi centric show on the way, once again starring Ewan McGregor, along with a Cassian Andor show set prior to the events of Rogue One that will see Diego Luna reprise his role as Andor.
The life of Star Wars through Disney+ looks strong, and I have to be honest that all three of these shows excite me far more than the thought of The Rise of Skywalker, in fact I was a little worried about Benioff and Weiss’ trilogy if I’m honest, given the way they ended Game of Thrones so badly in my opinion.
Star Wars isn’t going anywhere, all we have to do is look at how much buzz there is around The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker to realize that this franchise is still the most talked-about of them all. If Lucasfilm makes good Star Wars movies, then the audience will turn up. The trick is making sure they get this next set of movies right, and clearly, someone at Disney has decided that is not going to be with Benioff and Weiss, at least that’s my take on it.
Disney, cancel the date for December 2022, it’s too soon with all these shifting creative differences, start in 2024 instead. Give Feige the chance to produce it, with or without Kennedy and let him build a creative team that can really put together an impressive trilogy of movies. There’s really no reason at this point to not push ahead with that idea, and I think the fans would respect the desire to delay in order to get things right.
Do not try and be bold, and simply draft in a replacement for Benioff and Weiss without giving them the time they need to really make the story bounce off the page. There’s just been too much of that since Disney bought Lucasfilm and it’s time to do things differently.
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